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May 5, 2016 3:37 PM

NH Senate opts to study - not create - needle exchange program

The Associated Press

CONCORD (AP) — An effort to remove criminal penalties for possessing needles with trace amounts of drugs has been stalled in the New Hampshire Senate.

Senators are turning an effort to pave the way for needle exchange programs into a study committee. Republican Sen. Sharon Carson says she "deeply appreciates" the effort, but that the bill needs more work to set appropriate guidelines for when and where the programs can operate.

Needle exchange programs aim to give drug users a safer way to dispose of dirty syringes, which can contribute to the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C.

Senators from Manchester, the state's largest city, say dirty needles are being found in parks and on sidewalks around the city. Existing law allows anyone who picks them up to be charged with a crime.

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